If We’re Busting the Budget, Let’s Spend on Real Needs

By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

UNITED STATES SENATE

Republicans seem to believe we can afford massive amounts of additional deficit spending, because their tax plan busts the budget by $1.5 trillion over 10 years to provide more tax breaks for the wealthy and special interests. If Republicans insist on deficit spending, imagine if instead we invested in our people and communities.

Continue reading

Giant Beautiful Massive Trickle Coming Your Way

By R.W.

President Trump and the Republicans promised tax reform that would benefit the middle class, not the massive tax giveaway for the likes of himself and the other ultra-wealthy in his administration that is now being put forward.   The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy tells us that the new House GOP tax plan will allow the disparity in income in the country to grow with the richest 5 percent of households receiving  61 percent of the tax cuts over the next decade.

Continue reading

Watch Out For Danger of Burned Trees

Chris Judson

BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Photo: NPS Photo
Dead, falling, and fallen trees in an area severely burned by the Las Conchas Fire in 2011
One day in October, a hiker in Bandelier National Monument’s backcountry stopped along Frijoles Creek to have lunch and cool her feet in the water.  She took off her backpack and put it just behind her on the creek bank.  A breeze came up, and she heard a sharp CRAACCK right overhead.  She looked up and then very quickly sprang to the other side of the creek, just as a burned Ponderosa pine fell right where she had been sitting, crushing her backpack but very narrowly missing her.  She came back shaken and scratched, but her swift realization of the situation and fast reaction kept her from serious injuries.Continue reading

Red Meat Anyone?

By R.W.

“I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand (but…)
my IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”

The most intelligent man on Earth is the President of the United States.  He is like a smart person. It is not true that he is, as his closest associates and team members report: a moron, a lunatic, not stable,  a sociopath, a delusional narcissist etc.

Continue reading

Life and Death and All That Among Flickers of Faith and Hope

By R.W.

I realize that many people believe that God created man* in his present form, without alterations, the lovely creature that he is now, within the last 10,000 years. I also realize that to question this belief, as I did recently in the Jemez Post, and speak of it as if it were absurd, hurts and causes offence to many.

Creationists argue, as in an article in the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) that while the biblical account of creation is ridiculed by atheists, patronized by liberals and is often allegorized even by conservatives, it is however God’s own account of creation, corroborated by Jesus Christ (Mark 10:6-8, etc.), who was there.  Additional weight is given to this argument stating that God will someday hold us accountable for believing what He says, and that His description is reasonable and logical, fully in accord with all true science and history. The article affirms that there is peace and joy in believing God’s straightforward, rational, simple, satisfying, and truly scientific account of creation in Genesis.

Continue reading

New Mexico’s Black Children Doing Well Compared to Black Kids across Nation

Sharon Kayne, Communications Director

NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN

30th Anniversary Logo

New Mexico’s children, in all racial and ethnic groups except African American, lag behind their demographic cohorts across the nation when it comes to meeting key milestones that will help them achieve their unique potential. That’s according to data in the 2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children report, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Race for Results report uses an index that measures children’s progress on key education, health, and economic milestones, and across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. The report’s index uses a composite score of these milestones on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest) to make comparisons. No state has all children in any racial group meeting all milestones. However, nationally Asian and white children tend to fare better as a whole, while Hispanic, Native American, and Black children are less likely to be meeting milestones.

New Mexico’s index scores for all groups, except one, were lower than the national average (see the accompanying fact sheet for scores). New Mexico’s scores for Black children —who scored the lowest at the national level—were higher than the state’s scores for both Native and Hispanic children. Only nine other states had higher scores for their Black children (six states had no data on black children). African-American children comprise just 2 percent of New Mexico’s child population.Continue reading

New Mexicans Speak Out Against Proposed Politicized Science Standards

350 NEW MEXICO RALLY FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION

Hundreds of New Mexicans spoke Monday in opposition to the New Mexico Public Education Department’s politicized edits to the Next Generation Science Standards, removing references to climate change and the age of the Earth for its proposed public-school science curriculum.

Speakers urged the state to adopt the unedited Next Generation framework, which was developed by the National Academy of Sciences, National Science Teachers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Achieve. Every commenter at Monday’s hearing opposed the politicized edits. Below are excerpts from today’s Rally for Quality Science Education:

Continue reading

No to legislation That Would Kill the Iran Nuclear Deal

Rabbi Joseph Berman
Government Affairs Manager

How many more paths to war can we go down? On Friday, Donald Trump shoved us closer to confrontation with Iran, and it’s up to all of us to force Congress to choose diplomacy instead.

Act now and tell Senator Martin Heinrich and Senator Tom Udall: No new sanctions on Iran, and don’t pass legislation to kill the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Everyone— from the the International Atomic Energy Association, to the U.S. Intelligence Community, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson— agrees that sticking with the Iran Nuclear Deal is in everyone’s best interest.

But on Friday, in a speech full of misleading falsehoods, Trump announced he was “decertifying” the Iran Deal.

Continue reading

Democracy and Lots of Money are At Stake for New Mexico in the Upcoming Census 

By Amber Wallin

KIDS COUNT Director at NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN 

 

Amber Wallin.

Pop quiz. Which of the following statements are true? 

  1. The census is constitutionally required in order to count every person in the U.S. 
  1. The census determines how much federal money—more than $6 billion—flows into New Mexico’s economy every year. 
  1. New Mexicans are more at risk of not being counted by the census than are people in most every other state. 
  1. The census is in jeopardy—and that puts New Mexicans in jeopardy. 

 If you said all of the above are true, you’d be correct. Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee you the prize of being counted and represented in the next big census if things continue the way they are going. 
Continue reading

It’s A Good Time For Seeing Tarantulas

By Chris Judson

BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Photo NPS.

Around here, in Bandelier National Monument and many other parts of New Mexico, everyone starts noticing tarantulas about this time of year.  Autumn is the time when males mature and start out on their quest to find a mate.  This exposes them to many dangers, from hawks and skunks, which want to eat them, to fast-moving cars, to people who just find them creepy and may think they should be squashed.

Continue reading

Not For Distribution, but…

By R.W.

 Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

It took U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke nearly four months to declare which protected U.S. public lands to “unprotect”, and to open them to commercial activities. The act, protecting these lands, was signed into law in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, has, according to Secretary Zinke, allowed both Republican and Democratic presidents to “overreach”, as he put it, in designating these lands.

In the last 110 years, sixteen presidents, including eight Republicans and eight Democrats, have used the act to designate national monuments. But now, in a turning tide, sitting at opposite ends of New Mexico the Rio Grande del Norte near Taos and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces are up for review in the report Zinke sent to President Donald Trump.

Continue reading

Graham-Cassidy TrumpCare Bill Disastrous for Indian Health Care

U.S. Senator Tom Udall

UNITED STATES SENATE

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement on the Graham-Cassidy TrumpCare bill’s effects on health care in Indian Country:

“Senate Republicans are trying to force through the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill — another version of TrumpCare that would be truly disastrous for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The bill’s massive cuts to the Medicaid program would devastate access to life-saving health care across Indian Country. The Graham-Cassidy TrumpCare legislation is an irresponsible and dangerous abdication of our federal government’s trust responsibilities to Tribes. If enacted, this bill would jeopardize the health and lives of Native Americans in Tribal and urban Indian communities everywhere.

Continue reading

A Call to Residents of Sandoval County

Laura Robbins

SANDOVAL COUNTY OIL AND GAS ORDINANCE CITIZENS’ STUDY GROUP

This is a reminder about action to be taken by the Sandoval County Commission. The Commission is about to vote on an extremely permissive Oil and Gas Ordinance that could radically affect the quality of our lives as well as property values in a large part of Sandoval County.

Here’s how the Commission plans to make it easy for oil and gas companies to drill near your home or ranch or farm:

  • NO public notice
  • NO public hearing

Your wakeup call will occur when the company starts drilling next to your home.

Sounds unbelievable?

Continue reading

Science Deniers and Creationists Propose New Science Curriculum for New Mexico Schools

By R.W.

The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) is proposing new science teaching standards that question climate change, deny evolution and promote the oil and gas industry. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and the state’s Education Secretary -designee Christopher Ruszkowski have followed the Trump administration’s lead and “politically sanitized”, as they will have it, the vocabulary and content of science teaching standards.

Continue reading

A Friendly Robot Offers to Help Sue Equifax  

By R.W.

An estimated 143 million Americans, half of the U.S. population (this could be you and me), have had their names, addresses, social security numbers, some credit card numbers, driver license numbers and credit reports stolen in one of the biggest ever breaches of consumer data. This data breach threatens its victims with identity theft, giving away every single detail that someone could possibly need to steal  another person’s identity.

The case involves a company called Equifax, a credit reporting agency. There’s a very high chance that if you’ve ever had any sort of loan, credit card, or interaction with a collection agency, that you have dealt with them. The company waited six weeks to tell the world about the hack, that gave hackers a six-week jump on all of us.

Continue reading

Changing Odds in the New Normal

By R.W.

You would think that 500 year floods should not happen much more often than every 500 years, give or take a few decades, perhaps. Once you start getting 500 year floods every year, it might be time to rename them “only-to-be-expected-every-year-floods”.

By its definition a “500 year flood” is not a flood that might happen every 500 years, but is a flood that has a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in any given year. Still, what with Houston having just experienced a 500 year flood 2015, 2016 and now this year, it might make sense to reconfigure some of those odds, since (I am told) that the chances of a 1-in-500 event occurring three straight times are one in 125 million.

Continue reading

Tax Reform = Tax Breaks for the Super Rich

By  Sharon Kayne, Communications Director

NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN

 

 

 

Average New Mexicans would not benefit much from President Trump’s tax reform proposal, which would give the biggest tax breaks to New Mexico’s millionaires. That’s according to a report released recently by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

“We should be very clear: what the President and Republican leaders in Congress are proposing is not tax reform,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which works with ITEP on fiscal policies. “Trump, Ryan, and McConnell are pushing massive tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. These tax cuts will be paid for by cuts to Social Security, health care, education, and other programs that benefit working families and the whole nation.” 

Continue reading

As Hurricane Harvey Approaches

By R.W.

Our thoughts should now be with the folks in Texas and the horror that they are facing. We should also note  that while these untold numbers flee for their lives, abandoning their homes and facing an uncertain future some others see this as an opportunity to sneak in a few measures that  might pass unnoticed in the turmoil.

During when most people are encouraged to flee, undocumented Texans are faced with a choice of getting detained and likely deported at manned checkpoints, or staying behind and possibly dying in the storm. Unlike in previous hurricanes on the coast, Border Patrol officials announced late Thursday they were not planning to close roadside immigration checkpoints north of the affected area as fleeing people made their way out of several coastal counties.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants  will be making a choice between possible death and possible deportation.

Also, just as the storm began brushing against the coast, President Trump suddenly turned his attention elsewhere, pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and signed an order barring transgender people from joining the military.

There will be other things to focus on in the coming days and weeks as the horror and suffering for the residents of the Texas coast unfolds, but the consequences of these, and who knows, perhaps other decisions made under cover of Hurricane Harvey, will stay with us for some time to come.

The Planned Destruction of the Nation’s Past, Present and Future

By R.W.

Photo by Laurascudder – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10621997

Monarch Cave Ruin cliff dwelling on Comb Ridge

Fossil-fuel corporate polluters, represented by  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, are reaching their soiled, grasping mitts on vast areas of natural wonder that define this country, this continent, areas that hold  deep historic and cultural meaning as well as enduring habitats, endangered monuments to this country’s earliest human habitation , and also monuments to its natural diversity, linking our past and present, and linking a wide variety of biospheres.

President Donald Trump described the removal of secessionist war leaders statues as destroying  the nation’s history and culture. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” he said.

Continue reading

New Mexico Makes Massive New Education Spending Cuts

Brian Urban, Operations Manager

NEW MEXICO VOICES FOR CHILDREN

The resulting tuition increases will make college less affordable for low-income students

New Mexico’s state funding for higher education is 33 percent less now than it was before the recession, when looking at inflation-adjusted state spending per student. Looking at the dollar investment, the state is spending $4,509 less in 2017 than it did in 2008 on a per student, inflation-adjusted basis. Only Louisiana has made deeper cuts over that time period.

These are among the findings of a report released this week by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). As a result of these funding cuts, tuition at the nation’s public four-year colleges and universities has increased on average 35 percent since 2008 on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis. New Mexico has seen the same 35 percent tuition increase over that time period.

Continue reading

They’re Out to Kill and Maim Us All

By R.W.

Are these the bizarre ramblings of unhinged conspiracy theorists: the majority of U.S. politicians is in a pact with criminal organizations to kill and disable untold numbers of Americans?

Not at all. Of course this is true.

Continue reading

Your Voices Matter

By U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

UNITED STATES SENATE

Martin Heinrich

Ensuring a free and open internet is essential for New Mexico businesses and internet users to access broadband on an even playing field. As a staunch supporter of net neutrality, I believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must have strong, enforceable rules. The internet must remain open and conducive to free expression, innovation, and competition, not a tiered system based on financial relationships with internet service providers.

Continue reading

Peggy Fire Versus Flash Flood

By R.W.

It’s all happening out there if you believe weather forecasts and forest fire updates. What’s there to not believe as we sniff little wafts of smoke in our bedrooms and strain to hear rain pattering on our roofs.

It is quite clear though, that this is a cruel world where some get soaked time and time again, while others stay gasping in the dust. These monsoon-like events are so unevenly distributed where some of us sadly return home with vehicles still dripping from the shower we struggled through with our wipers maxing out on fast to be greeted by a dust devil in the driveway.Continue reading

“America First” Threatens First Americans

By R.W.

The Trump administration appears to be taking a different track from Obama’s attitudes toward Native American nations and tribes, their land and their sovereignty. President Obama’s policies toward acquiring and consolidating land for them contrast with the present administration’s  push toward increased energy development and tribal land privatization.

Continue reading

Neurotoxic Pesticide Returns to our Grocery Shelves

By U.S. Senator Tom Udall

UNITED STATES SENATE

In March, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt contradicted the findings of his own agency’s scientists and reversed the EPA’s proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide used on fruits and vegetables derived from a class of World War II nerve agents that has been shown to impair brain development in children. Latino farmworkers who live in rural communities are at the highest risk, but the pesticide has been detected in drinking water and on picked fruits and vegetables sold in stores. Even oranges that have been washed and peeled have been shown to contain chlorpyrifos. We must act to protect the health of children, farmers and farmworkers. Join me in speaking out, and stay tuned for more information in coming days.

Continue reading

(Fake) Drama Above and Below and (Illegal Leaks of) Fire and Water

Photos R.W.

Update SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The Peggy Fire as seen from a mesa in Red Rocks.

Do not believe what you hear or what you see. You might have read on these pages chilling warnings against life threatening  walls of storm water rushing down arroyos and calm reassurances about low intensity puffs of smoke lingering through the morning. Well…

Continue reading

Playing Cynical Games with the Lives and Health of the American People

By R.W.

Surprise!

Having failed to get acceptance for his proposed health care act President Trump has now offered his latest solution: do nothing, sabotage the system by allowing it to completely collapse, hope the worst will happen and then see how everyone feels; see if they still show willing to resist his proposals.

“As I have always said,” tweeted Trump, though he had never actually said so before, “let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”

Continue reading